Developed By: Retrotainment Games, Digital Eclipse Published By: iam8bit Categories: Retro, Platformer Release Date: 10.25.22
Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for Stale Gum. The game they didn’t want you to play…until now! A game so gross, it was locked away and lost for decades. Decades after the card game’s height, the film….except this is actually a new game by Retrotainment and Digital Eclipse. I dig the backstory though. So lets dumpster dive into this mess and see what we’ve got in store.
Real quick, a history lesson. The Garbage Pail Kids are a series of trading cards, a parody of the Cabbage Pack Kids. Instead of being so cute they’re ugly. They’re so ugly and gross it’s endearing. Kind of the vibe of the era.
Lets cover the package before we really shuffle through trash. You have a short animation that gives the backstory to the game. A fun pseudo documentary, which real or not is seeming to be a mainstay for Digital Eclipse’s titles. There’s even a gallery for the cards and sprites of characters featured in the game, playable, assists, enemies. Stuff that wasn’t needed or required, but boy does this make the package more enticing.
The game itself doesn’t quite grab me. It’s not bad, but it gives me flashbacks to the kinds of western made games back in the day I would avoid. Big, wide open levels that seem to take too long to finish. There’s not many levels, so this is how the game pads itself, but I never enjoyed this design philosophy. The game isn’t really hard in the least either. Healing items are everywhere as well as the standard rewinding function in retro games. After the level decides when to end, you do get to an admittedly impressive boss fight. I like the boss fights quite a bit. Big sprites, patterns to learn, a nice way to finish each segment of the game.
You’ll control four playable characters, each unqiue. Throwing up, shooting snot rockets, bouncing around, and then just being Mad Mike. I stuck to Mad Mike unless I really needed to bounce somewhere or had to shoot at a distance. There’s also cards you can collect, this *is* based off of a series of cards after all. These can be traded too, if you find specific NPCs around. These give you strong attacks, buffs, special abilities like flying. You can most definitely play and beat the game ignoring this, but it is another feature that is appreciated. It makes a very mediocre platformer into an interesting, if not fantastic platformer.
Something across the board I have honestly have no issue with is the presentation. Stages are all unique as they’re supposed to be different eras of time and origin. Character and boss sprites are appropriately detailed. The music isn’t even as bad as you’d expect from old western games. A gross game looking appealing…go figure.
So here’s a twist. While this is a new game, this is still an NES game. As in you can grab a functioning NES cart for it. I’m loving that more homebrews are getting released in a mainstream, widespread way. I’ve been seeing it a lot lately and I’ve even covered a few myself. The games aren’t always something I find myself enjoying too much, but it’s good to see regardless.
Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Search for Stale Gum isn’t a game I liked so much to play so much as one I liked for everything else. The fake mystic about it, the package. I’ve never been a big Garbage Pail Kids fan, so maybe that’s on me. But for fans of the IP, I’d probably say you should grab this.
Buy Now: $9.99
*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review